The Jewish Humanitarian Fund „Magen David“
The Jewish Humanitarian Fund „Magen David“ was established by the decision of the Council of the Jewish Community Belgrade of 4 March 1993, as a continuation of Jewish humanitarian societies such as: the Jewish Women’s Society, Dobrotvor, Oneg šabat, Cemilut Hasidim, and Bikur holim.
Its establishment and operation were approved by the decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia and the Fund was inscribed in the relevant Register.
Engineer Jakov Polak was appointed the President of the Jewish Humanitarian Fund „Magen David“, and Miroslav Grinvald its Secretary.
On 3 March 2003, the Jewish Community Belgrade transferred its founding rights and obligations to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia and since that time the Fund is managed by Miroslav Grinvald.
The key goals of the „Magen David“ Fund are the collection and distribution of assistance for the poor and vulnerable from among the Jewish community and outside it. The Fund cooperates with numerous national and foreign humanitarian and social welfare institutions, among them notably with the Serbian Red Cross.
Since the very establishment in 1993, the Jewish Humanitarian Fund “„Magen David“ and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia have enjoyed extraordinary support of Jewish humanitarian organizations like the JOINT (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) fromNew York, and the WJR (World Jewish Relief) from London.
The assistance that was provided since the Fund was established has amounted to several million US dollars. This assistance was provided in form of food, clothes, shoes, medicines, sanitary and hygiene products, technical household and institutional appliances, catering appliances, etc. The assistance was distributed mostly to members of the Jewish community in Serbia through the individual Jewish communities within the Federation. A portion of the assistance was distributed also to non-Jews in Belgrade and many other towns where it was most urgently needed, most frequently the social welfare and children’s institutions, the Roma community, refugee camps, displaced persons from Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo and Metohija, hospitals, old people’s homes, institutions in charge of the homeless, centers providing care to children with special needs, orphans, primary and secondary schools, and also individuals in need. Thus, some of the beneficiaries to whom the „Magen David“ provided assistance include social welfare institutions and centers in Pančevo, Obrenovac, Rača Kragujevačka, Jabuka, Kladovo, Kragujevac, Vladičin Han, Šabac, Jaša Tomić, Smederevo, in Kosovo and Metohija – altogether – about fifty non-Jewish institutions in Belgrade and across Serbia.
The Jewish Humanitarian Fund „Magen David“ also extended assistance in form of food, clothes, medicines and sanitary materials, under emergencies during the period 1993-1996 to members of Jewish communities in Republic Srpska – in Banja Luka, Doboj, and Teslić.
Among the important projects that the Fund has implemented with the support of the JOINT we note: opening of a school for Roma literacy in Obrenovac, equipping the PC cabinet in the primary school „Braća Baruh“ in Dorćol in Belgrade, delivery of catering equipment to the refugee collection centre in Rača Kragujevačka, and production of furniture for the school of demented children „Srce u jabuci“ in Jabuka.
Today, fifteen years after its establishment, and in line with its means, depending strongly on aid provided by international Jewish organizations, the „Magen David“ Fund remains active in pursuing the noble goals of its founders to be ready to help at any time to all people in distress irrespective of their religious or ethnic background. Numerous letters, certificates of appreciation and acknowledgement, that the activists of the Fund are rightly proud of, testify of this dedication.